tv ABC World News With Diane Sawyer ABC June 20, 2011 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
tonight on "world news" -- walmart wins. the supreme court says 1 million women cannot join together to charge sex discrimination. why and what does it mean for women in the workplace now? hot potato. as massive wildfires scorch the southwest, senator john mccain says illegal immigrants have a role in runaway fire. what's the whole truth? boomer power. a new report shows older workers outstrip younger ones in energy and the bottom line. made in america summer. meet the swimmers who wrote us that they're taking off their bathing suits to head to the beach in something new. and michelle obama. a cluster of obama children and cousins have landed in south africa.
ready to deploy that signature style. good evening. good monday to you. it was an epic showdown. 1 million women asking to take on the retail giant walmart. arguing discrimination over equal promotions and equal pay. but today the u.s. supreme court said no, tossing out their suit. it was a divided opinion. and it was over this question, can there be mass discrimination if there's no explicit policy? or as the senior female justice tried to argue, is discrimination more subtle than that? terry moran takes us inside the debate, the biggest discrimination file in u.s. history. >> reporter: this is a huge victory, and not just for walmart, but for corporate america as a whole. and it will have a tremendous
impact on women in the workplace coming together to fight discrimination. in the workplace. for the women of walmart, who says they've been denied promotions because of their gender, it has been a decade of struggle against the world's largest company. >> this ten-year battle so far has definitely been worth the journey. we are definitely marching forward. >> reporter: but the supreme court just made it a lot harder. justice antonin scalia wrote on the crucial opinion for the court, which ruled that women of walmart had failed to show that the company has an actual policy of discrimination that worked to harm all female employees. "to sue about literally millions of employment decisions at once plaintiffs need some glue holding the alleged reasons for all those decisions together," said soalia from the bench. all three women on the court dissented, along with justice stephen breyer. justice ruth bader ginsberg shot back at scalia, saying that discrimination in the workplace is more subtle than he described. "managers, like all humankind,
may be prey to biases of which they are unaware. walmart declared total victory. so, what does this ruling mean? >> the supreme court raised the bar extraordinarily high now for women and others who face discrimination in the workplace to be able to come together. >> reporter: is this a setback for women in the workplace? in congress, nancy pelosi says the ruling sets back the cause of equality. listen to what we heard out on the streets today. if you had to go up against your employer in a case, would you feel that the system was on your side? >> that's a difficult one. i would have to say probably not. they have more resources for attorneys than most working people do. >> reporter: finally, what can women who face discrimination do now? well, every woman and man still has the basic right to sue employers. but now most will have to do so as individuals. they will have to fight the company alone.
and so that battle will have to proceed one woman at a time. and a giant company like walmart just has the resources to crush them one at a time. >> so, what happens, terry, one woman at a time, what are the chances of getting to court and winning? >> reporter: it's much harder now. there's no question. it will have to be proof based on things like e-mail, specific corporate statements that reveal a policy of discrimination, rather than as the plaintiffs here were trying to show, a general statistical disparity. they showed while women make up 70% of walmart's hourly employees, only 33% of managers. not good enough, this court said. >> and it was a seismic decision. thank you, terry moran. now we turn to the firestorm of anger kicking up around those huge wildfires in the south. bone-dry conditions. the worst in 50 years. and high winds are fanning flames from arizona to texas, more than 1 million acres on fire tonight, an area of size of
delaware. enter arizona senator john mccain. seeming to be saying that illegal immigrants have a role in some border fires. clayton sandell is in sierra vista, arizona, tonight. >> reporter: touring the largest blaze in arizona history, senator john mccain stepped into his own firestorm. on ktv, blaming the recent wildfire outbreak here on weak security along the u.s./mexican border. >> there is substantial evidence that some of these fires have been caused by people who have crossed our border illegally. >> reporter: mccain suggesting they are setting fires to send signals, keep warm or distract law enforcement. but with illegal immigration such a burning hot controversy in arizona, where fires have now destroyed dozens of homes and forced thousands to evacuate, he was quickly accused of intolerance. >> the sad thing is that the intention was pretty clear, and
it was to demonize immigrants and to demonize latinos. >> reporter: we asked state and federal officials for a tally of how many fires have been started by illegal immigrants but they could not provide an exact number. out of thousands of fires since 2006, we could only find six. still, today mccain insisted it's a significant problem. >> the forest service testified in 2006 before congress that there were fires set by illegal immigrants, and the issue has been there ever since. >> reporter: today, the u.s. forest service said they are investigating this fire. they will say it was caused by people but they won't say who. >> it's premature to speculate about who it actually was that started those fires. >> reporter: homeowners watching the flames creep close remember looking for someone to blame and john mccain may have given it to them. clayton sandell, abc news, arizona. in politic, a rumble in the
wings. a race to the white house. and a republican is signaling he is about to shake up the candidates already in the field. he is the cage rattling larger than life texas governor rick perry. john berman reports, as they say in that state, he's a man who can kick-start a mule. >> reporter: it's the gun. it's the boots. it's the yelp. >> whoo! >> reporter: it's the swagger. no republican candidate lit up the crowd like texas governor rick perry. >> let's lead them to the safe harbor and the shores of american exceptionalism. >> reporter: of course, perry is not actually a candidate. not yet. but who is this 61-year-old son of a rancher with phenomenal hair? and why do so many republicans hope he does run? >> he's got rock star potential and it's showing itself over the course of the last couple of weeks. >> reporter: a fifth generation texan, an air force pilot, who first met his wife in elementary school. >> my husband, rick perry! >> reporter: a
one-time democrat who once campaigned for al gore. but now a darling of conservatives and tea party groups. >> they will never willingly give up an ounce of power in washington, d.c. until the american people stand up and demand that we adopt reform. >> reporter: but in this uncertain economic environment, the biggest weapon in his holster, his record. nearly half the jobs created in the u.s. in the last two years, half in the whole country, came from texas. the ingredients to that success? he says no state income tax, few government regulations, and limits on lawsuits. though critics say the tax laws predate his tenure, the state lucked out with surging oil prices. and there have been serious costs to the balanced budgets. $4 trillion in education cuts in the next two years and the highest percentage of residents without health care in the country. but to his critics, perry has a simple response. >> and our loudest opponents on the left are never going to like us, so let's quit trying to
curry favor with them. >> reporter: now, perry is no stranger to controversy. he once mused about the possibility of texas seceding from the union. there are those who think perry's biggest hurdles might be that american won't want another texas governor in the white house after george w. bush. his advisers say he's 50/50 about getting in. >> there's a lot of rumbling out there, as we've been saying. now that new study about a kind of secret weapon in the workplace. it turns out older employees are trouncing younger ones in terms of energy, attitude, even productivity. we're talking about workers 55 and older. nearly 25 million of them. including one 80-year-old who just landed a very big job. bianna golodryga explains. >> reporter: this is your grandfather's baseball team. meet jack mckeon, the new interim manager of the florida marlins. at a feisty 80 years old, he's
the secondest oldest manager in major league history. an honor he's unapologetic about. >> why should experience get penalized? 80 doesn't mean a thing. i'm not 80. my birth certificate says that but i'm not 80. >> reporter: not a single member of his team was born the first time mckeon managed in 1973. now the team's president say he may be their best chance for a comeback. >> jack mckeon is not old to us. 80 years old is just a number. >> reporter: the marlins may be on to something. a new study finds that older workers are more productive than their younger peers. as physical strength fades, other more valuable skills surge like leadership and team work. older workers make fewer mistakes and less catastrophic ones. researchers found productivity actually increases until age 65. something home depot has figured out. to entice older workers, they offer snow bird specials. work winters in florida, summers in maine. and new york life, they say maybe it's all that life
experience, but older workers are better at selling life insurance. >> i think what's important in our field when you're sitting down with businesses or individuals is really trust and credibility. >> reporter: and there's another reason the marlins think mckeon is the right man to take the team to the championship. he's done it before when he was 72. back then in 2003, he had come off retirement to lead the team to the promised land. he would retire for a second time two years later. and now, diane, he's back in the workforce. >> big arguments to use there for anybody at work, use a boomer worker. thank you, bianna. still ahead on "world news," made in america summer. an army of determined women taking on bathing suits. the michelle effect. what the first lady is doing half a world away. the rules of resilience, as taught by a 22-year-old with an amazing swing and an irrepressible spirit. [ female announcer ] women like andrea move the world.
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in buying this car? oh definitely. as all my friends would tell you, i am one of the cheapest people you'll ever meet. and whenever i was filling up with gas before, i'd have a scowl on my face. you seem very comfortable up there. have you done this before? no, i haven't, and i'm actually terrified right now. [ slap! slap! slap! slap! slap! ] [ male announcer ] your favorite foods fighting you? fight back fast with tums. calcium rich tums goes to work in seconds. nothing works faster. ♪ tum tum tum tum tums and, now, it's our made in america summer. if everyone of us spent an extra $3 on american goods per year, we'd create 10,000 american jobs. that inspired a group of women. here's david muir on what they said they're willing to take off and take on. >> reporter: our made in america
trip this time took us clear across america -- to the palm trees of california -- there's the pool. bright and early at the local y. we'd been told -- that beyond the swim lessons, the aerobics -- they'd been taught something else -- by a swimmer, named helen. world news, how are you? helen has been watching and writing. dear ms. sawyer and mr. muir -- >> yes, i said that. >> reporter: it's everywhere you look. their uniforms? >> it's bangladesh. >> reporter: it's everywhere you look. this couple, determined to find something. even the t-shirt -- as we drew a crowd, some knew exactly what we were up to. this german couple didn't. they were emphatic. they came to america to buy american.
mexico. >> reporter: the label on his jeans? we stopped them there. >> made in china. >> reporter: you came all this way from germany? >> to buy stuff from china. >> reporter: -- to buy stuff from china. in fact, 98% of the clothes bought in this country are made overseas. which brings us back to helen, who saw that, and marched into her ymca, and blew her whistle. >> i thought of this class and i thought "bathing suits." mexico, cambodia. did any of you find a made in the usa swimsuit? >> no. >> reporter: but they were determined to change that. custom fit, specification, they'll sue ew it. >> we can say, okay, it's not
fitting, and then cheel change it. >> reporter: economists say, that's the key. clothing that's specialized. they're not mass producing anything. they are hiring. six seamstresses in just six months. where are those swimsuits now? >> it's pretty daring for helen to write a letter and say, "david, you've got to check us out in our bathing suits." why blow the whistle that day? >> because i care about the people who don't have a job. >> reporter: eight women now looking at labels and looking good too. >> made in america! yeah! >> ah, so great. >> the bravery of helen and the gals who invited us. the letter right here. as you know, diane, all summer long, we're inviting our viewers to tell us about the one thing they have or they've purchased they think everyone else would want to help get this economy going. >> something made in america, you know somebody else will buy if you just tell them about it. we will. >> online, abc news. come up, the michelle factor, now taking on south africa. [ male announcer ] you sprayed them.
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wherever she travels, she travels with a signature message -- health, hope, and laughter for the young. maybe it's hopscotching with kids in india, or closing a greeting in spanish, pouring a pint of guinness in ireland, or just showing up at those state dinners. and in every hemisphere, reminding students that dreams are not so different. >> back when we were young, no one could have predicted that one day we would become the president and first lady of the united states of america. our stories are not unique. >> reporter: she's already proven she's the one person who can modernize any ancient protocol -- a hand on the back of the queen. in indonesia, a conservative muslim country, wearing pants and a headscarf as a sign of respect. but even a conservative minister who doesn't believe in shaking hands with a woman eagerly
reached for hers. later, had to say he was just being polite. and wherever she goes, there is a subtext. her follow-up trip to haiti, in effect saying her husband cares, too. and seeming to bring him to south africa and botswana, even though he has yet to visit the south of the continent. seven days, three generations of american women, signaling they're ready to dance to any song. and, by the way, we'll have a special interview with the first lady. david muir is leaving tomorrow morning and will bring us the interview from south africa later in the week. coming up, a 22-year-old who taught the world a lesson in how you come back. [ male announcer ] it's simple physics... a body at rest tends to stay at rest... while a body in motion tends to stay in motion. staying active can actually ease arthritis symptoms. but if you have arthritis, staying active can be difficult. prescription celebrex can help relieve arthritis pain so your body can stay in motion.
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finally tonight, something amazing happened yesterday, 22-year-old golfer rory mcilroy became the youngest u.s. open champ in almost 90 years and not the easy way. here's "good morning america" news anchor josh elliott. >> reporter: by most every statistical measure, his triumph was one of the great performances in golf history. the baby-faced 22-year-old from northern ireland. in becoming the youngest open champion in almost a century, had done the impossible -- he'd made golf look easy. >> another u.s. open champion from northern ireland. an unreal performance from rory mcilroy. >> reporter: but that is not why mcilroy beams today, beneath headlines around the globe. just two months prior when he suffered an equally stunning implosion. a final day failure at this april's masters so brutal, that many feared the impact on a career, barely begun. >> rory mcilroy was at
absolutely rock bottom. it was embarrassing. it was -- it was just so stunning to see the leader of the masters in this trouble. >> reporter: but that's the thing with resilience. it demands that failure, however gutting, be a part of its calculus. that was evident just moments after his masters collapse, when his poise hinted at redemption, still unseen. >> it was a character building day. put it that way. and i'll come out stronger for it. >> reporter: just two weeks ago, mcilroy did something few athletes in his presumably fragile state might have, forgoing preparation for the open to visit earthquake-ravaged haiti. a tacit agreement that golf, even at its most unforgiving, was still just a game. >> i felt like i got over the masters pretty quickly. i kept telling you guys that and i don't know if you believed me or not. >> reporter: you might feel tempted to cast him as a young foil for an aging tiger woods. but don't do it. don't give in. if only because young rory mcilroy himself did not.
something we were all lucky enough to witness for ourselves. a nice touch to the open as it ends on father's day. the sacrifice of rory' father would not go unnoted. his father worked three jobs to fund rory's dream. bartending and cleaning toilets. a lesson in perseverance. >> he goes to haiti to get perspective before he has to go in for the nerve-racking moment. >> this is a sport that is ruled with an iron fist. it may now be ruled by someone who's even nicer than we all know. >> and with a brogue. thank you, josh. thank you for watching. we're always on at abcnews.com. "nightline" later. we'll see you tomorrow.